Novak Djokovic lost in the Olympic semifinal, the ‘Golden Slam’ dream is dead

Tokyo 2020 - Tennis

Welp, this just happened. Novak Djokovic lost in the Olympics men’s semifinal against Alexander Zverev. Novak had been very public about his desire to go for the “Golden Slam,” an achievement only Steffi Graf has ever done. The Golden Slam is winning all four Slam titles in a calendar year plus the gold medal in singles. Graf did that in 1988. Novak was in form all year, winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. All he had to do was win the gold medal in singles and the US Open title in September to complete his Golden Slam dream and he was the favorite to do just that. (Note: both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal have won versions of the Golden Slam, they just didn’t win everything in a calendar year.)

Djokovic has had a tortured history at the Olympics, but he does have one medal – a bronze from the Beijing Olympics. He lost in the bronze-medal round at the London Olympics to Juan Martin del Potro, the same beautiful Argentinian man who took Djokovic out in the first round of the Rio Olympics. Things felt different this time. Novak was focused, he was riding high, he came into the games on a winning streak. He was rolling through his opponents even in the extremely hot and humid conditions in Tokyo. Del Potro wasn’t there. So it was Novak’s for the taking. And he couldn’t.

To be fair, Zverev has been playing very well. I just don’t want to give him any credit for it because he’s been credibly accused of domestic abuse. Last year, his ex-girlfriend told her story to Racquet Magazine and I believe her. Zverev will now go up against Russian Karen Khachanov in the gold medal round on Sunday. Djokovic will compete against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta for the bronze. FYI: The women’s gold medal final is “Swiss Miss” Belinda Bencic versus Czech Markéta Vondroušová, and that’s tomorrow.

I honestly feel so sorry for Novak. I know he’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but I was genuinely rooting for him. Oh, Novak is still alive in Mixed Doubles though. He could conceivably win gold there.

Tokyo 2020 - Tennis

Tokyo 2020 - Tennis

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Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.

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34 Responses to “Novak Djokovic lost in the Olympic semifinal, the ‘Golden Slam’ dream is dead”

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  1. Maddie says:

    I don’t feel sorry for Novax Djocovid at all. Just a shame that Zverev had to be the one to stop him and advance to the final.

    • hindulovegod says:

      This Olympics has been hard to watch as a tennis fan. The domestic abuser versus the anti-vaxxer. A final featuring Bencic. Every match is the worst people on tour. At least Sandgren lost in doubles to the Kiwis. Small mercies.

    • SarahCS says:

      Same, this is my name for him since last year and I no longer care how great a tennis player he is. As for the domestic abuser… Tennis needs to get it’s house in order.

    • SarahLee says:

      Agree, Maddie. I don’t feel sorry for him. He had words to say about Simone Biles’ “toughness.” He’s been a COVID denier. Screw him.

    • MMC says:

      He made mistakes with the whole COVID situation, but he has proven himself to be a decent guy ( especially with the union which will help lower ranked players, unlike Federer and Nadal). And western media were horrible to him, even now ( the comments about pressure they purposely reported so thatt they seem pointed at Simone Biles, even though he talked about himself a day before she pulled out).
      I read a great article about the whole Đoković villain perception

      I’m sad about the Olympic gold, but hopefully he will be on his A game for the US Open. He’s the undisputed GOAT already, but winning the most slams would completely cemment that.

    • Jen says:

      Me too.

  2. tig says:

    Steffi Graf’s last name only has one F in it. A true legend, always.

  3. Lara says:

    Isn’t this idiot an anti-vaxxer?

    • MMC says:

      No, the only thing he said was that the Covid vaccine should be voluntary.

      • Grant says:

        …which is usually the coded language that anti-vaxxers use to justify their not getting vaccinated.

      • josephine says:

        Seriously? He ran a tourney at the height of Covid with no social distancing or other safety measures AND went out partying with the participants. A lot of players got Covid, but worse than that, they passed it on to others, like pregnant women. He’s not a passive participant when it comes to Covid. He was a denier then and a denier now.

  4. lemonylips says:

    I’m watching mens doubles finals. It’s so strange watching two pairs from the same country, cause then you just focus on the game. So excited for them. Go Croatia! Also I know a lot of people hate on Djokovic but he is a great athlete.

    • MMC says:

      I was so so happy about that! Was rooting a bit harder for Čilić/Dodig, but 2 teams in the final, for such a small country is insane.

      • lemonylips says:

        I didn’t know who to cheer for! I think I was leaning a bit to Mektic/Pavic because as a pair they did so amazing this whole year and was sure they’d be in the finals. But I think they were all just happy to have known they were playing with their friends and all of them were taking medals home.

  5. Simone says:

    Can’t stand him, happy he didn’t win but it’s a shame the other one is also an @sshole.

  6. Loretta says:

    I’m happy, I can’t stand him

  7. Starkille says:

    LOL. A bit of a downer though considering that now Zverev the wife beater has a chance at the medal. I’ll be pulling for Khachanov.

  8. tw says:

    I take great joy in him losing. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

  9. Theothermia says:

    Oh jeez, the pandemic party guy 🙄

  10. questions says:

    I go back and forth on Djokovic. On the one hand, I think he was unwise about the COVID stuff (previous to that, all the “villain” stuff seemed a bit manufactured.) On the other hand, you can tell we’re witnessing history as he cuts through the Slams. I’m not invested him in winning but I’m not against it either because it’s interesting to see someone smash so many records so quickly after someone else has set them. I feel I need to hate him (because, yeah, I don’t really know why)m but in actuality I don’t and want to see history made.

  11. Barbie1 says:

    Its a shame he lost, letting an amazing opportunity slip away. I dont know how athletes get over devastating losses. I prefer him over his opponent. Hope Zverev loses.

  12. Novaroux says:

    Honestly not sure where I stand when it comes to him. He can be irritating – not to mention his parents – plus he was a complete idiot last year with the tournament and his words about the vaccine could very well be seen as infuriating anti-vax bull, though I do think we need to leave some room for interpretation there. His temper can also be off putting.
    However, he is not only one of the best players of all time, but also always gracious towards his opponents, in victory and defeat. That goes a long way with me.
    A lot of criticism around him is legit, but he does get very harsh treatment a lot, often undeserving. I can only hope it’s not because of his background, but very ugly prejudice and xenophobia against Eastern Europeans in the West is rampant and can’t be ignored.

  13. ClaireB says:

    I used to admire Djokovic’s athleticism, work ethic, and talent. Then he made his comments on equal pay for women, came out as an anti-vaxxer, started his new players’ association with only men, organized a Covid tennis tour…. Did I miss anything? More of an anti-fan now, so glad he lost.

    I hope the domestic abuser loses in the final, too. Why is this generation of male tennis players so bad?

    • josephine says:

      I think men at the top of anything can be potential trouble. For one, they are highly driven and highly focused, which makes them less developed in other ways. And once they get to the top, they can be entitled and arrogant and seem to lose touch with reality. I suspect that we just didn’t know as much about people’s personal lives in the past. Obviously there are some amazing athletes and leaders who are great people, but I am rarely surprised to hear that men at the top are problematic.

  14. Fernanda says:

    Zverev is a terrible person. He needs to be arrested for what he did to his ex. So, that being said, I’m team Djokovic who is by all accounts a decent guy. Maybe not the brightest but not an aggressive dude.

  15. Liesel says:

    The gold was there on a platter. He took the platter instead.

  16. A.Key says:


  17. Ally says:

    Joker shows his true character time and time again. He took NO responsibility for HIS Adriatic Tour (which packed the stands and gave tons of people Covid), slammed a ball in a ball persons neck at the Open and threw his racquet into the stands when he lost to Busta. And that was only in the last 12 months. Who actually wants this guy to succeed…?!